With just a few days to go until Sunday’s Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, the runners may have cut back on their preparations as they taper for their big race, but the organisers are ramping up their efforts as they prepare to put on a world-class experience — and that includes the timekeepers.
As the only IAAF Gold Label-status marathon in Africa, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is already a winner, however, the event organisers are going for a record-breaking performance this weekend as they chase the recently introduced IAAF Platinum Label which will be awarded for the first time to races in 2020. This means the event must meet a stringent set of requirements and regulations.
The tough criteria for races to achieve the Platinum status includes a quota of elite athletes, strict checking of the course, well stocked and staffed refreshment stations, efficient medical services, television coverage and top-quality electronic-timing and results reporting.
With 22 000 entrants across the five events (marathon, 5km and 10km run/walk, and 12km and 22km trail runs), the timekeeping data and results reporting is a huge operation. The timekeepers tasked with this at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is an international collaboration between SportsSplits South Africa (part of the international SportSplits group) and FinishTime Event Management.
Co-operation between SportsSplits SA and FinishTime is nothing new and an event of this magnitude is not extraordinary for their partnership. They have successfully worked together to time many high-profile and internationally respected events in Southern Africa, including the Cape Epic, the South Africa legs of the IronMan Series and the Two Oceans Marathon.
Not surprisingly, to achieve the requirements of the IAAF every entrant will be supplied with a transponder which is included with their race number. This transponder forms the link between the timekeepers and the data which gets manipulated by SportsSplits SA and FinishTime to provide a world-class set of results and information designed so as to ensure the marathon meets the IAAF Platinum Label requirements.
One of the IAAF requirements is to provide real time splits along the route for the media and supporters and here the SportsSplits Tracker app will give race followers an opportunity to track every entrant in the marathon event.
The free app, which is available for both Android and iOS from Google Play and the App Store, provides accurate splits every five kilometres of the 42km marathon, as well as real-time, map-based tracking of athletes. The tracking uses an algorithm to accurately estimate each athlete’s position based on the terrain and splits of the competitors.
Users of the app are able to select individual entrants to track in real time or watch leaderboards showing the leading runners. Supporters can also get estimated finish times of athletes as well as use the app for relevant race information and check the event’s social media feeds.
One of the directors of FinishTime, Craig Eldridge, said this week he is looking forward to providing a world-class results service to the competitors of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon.
“Competitors taking part in an IAAF Gold Label event have the right to anticipate an event that provides world-class services throughout,” said Eldridge. “The collaboration between SportsSplits South Africa and FinishTime allows us to provide a timekeeping and results service that is on a par with most of the major sporting events in the world.
“The SportsSplits Tracking app also gives the supporters of each and every competitor the chance to follow the progress of their loved ones, virtually in real time.”